What the Trees Say
From KJ 75: BIODIVERSITY, BY TAOLI-AMBIKA TALWAR,
photograph by Sato Tokihiro
[audio:https://kyotojournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/What-the-trees-say-new.mp3|titles=What the trees say-new]
Birds had stretched their wings for a while
knocked on trees, called from tree to tree
yawning with dawn peach-gold sifting
her way into our sleeping minds. Awaking
even the copper green sage lichen
leached into barks of tapering cedars
tall, stately, fragrant with longing.
I walked into a cathedral of trees,
where moss hung in filigreed strips,
where wood eaten by time
awaited the hymnal of its form,
before turning to red dirt. Or brown.
Trees were green with gloss; crowds filtered
into my little head while my feet longed
to curl up, be still from all this searching.
[hide-this-part] When I have wandered into forests,
trees have held me, told me of their origins—
the miles they have traveled; Now, they show me
their enmeshed roots like our destinies
intricately criss-crossed before time revealed
our beginning and our endlessness.
I asked for these myriad roots to travel farther
through the core to other ends of earth
so each tree could know sister and cousin
so each tree could sustain earth layers, relatives.
And when time comes for the devastation,
I asked for trees of all genes and systems
to keep the dirt whole even if waters
spill over and when they dry in creeks.
I know they listened, for sap on my fingers,
a leaf twirled tracing the morning air
fell on my cheek; insects, birds called fiercely
from 11 directions. Even a butterfly
fluttered near me in an innocent twist of time.
Squirrel scoured broken trees for morning victuals.
All I could hear was the hum of beginnings
as wings brushed leaves lichen longing.
Our common destiny rests in damp earth deserts
rocks rivers whose skies remind with stories
old and new across borders lands planets cosmos
woven with grammar of divinity. When shall we
celebrate our skins filigreed with dirt? When awake?
As forests have done and we have ached for!
Is it true that we hunger for nourishment?
Do we have the food to salve our hunger?
To feed each other in bowls of gold before
time runs into its own cave, curls up, goes to sleep?
All Taoli-Ambika knows is to write what the trees say!
Is it not true that everyone hungers for nourishment?
Is it true that everyone hungers to feed another?[/hide-this-part]